In early November 2013, a new spectacle came up in Madrid, Spain which is drawing the attention of children and adults alike. It is the world’s first robot museum in Europe that has only robots on display. There are such mini-museums in a number of universities, but this is one of its kinds. This museum is managed by Daniel Bayon, 39. He had a lot of things to say about the large number of exhibits that exist in the museum. Interestingly, this museum has robots dating back to the 1980s till the latest ones and has 140 exhibits in total.
According to Daniel, this museum has the largest collection of Aibos, which are the robotic dogs manufactured by the Japanese company Sony between 1999 and 2006. He told AFP that these robots were one of the most popular and important items that the museum possesses. According to him, these robots are the most fascinating robot dogs ever to be manufactured and marketed, and their number is a close second to that in Japan. While he shows us around, we can see a white-colored beagle robot that wags it tail continuously. If it is petted, it will nuzzle the person who does it, much like a real beagle.
There are pint-sized robots in a flashing blue color who are dancing continuously to pop hits like “Gangnam Style” and others. The way these six robots throw their fists in all directions is very similar to the way humans would behave on a dance floor. There is a diverse collection of both pet robots as well as human ones, popularly known as humanoids. Humanoids even have names given to them, and one of them named Nao can actually walk and talk. It is a miniature humanoid that was developed by Aldebaran, a French company who specializes in robotics. Nao is put to use to aid educational process development, we were told.
Nao’s capabilities were demonstrated to the audience. With its pre-programmed high-pitch voice, it proclaims its uniqueness in a rather mechanical yet serious voice. Nao goes on to mention that simulation of real-life human behavior is one of his areas of expertise. The human traits in Nao are very much apparent, more so when in the course of the demonstration, it politely excuses itself to become more comfortable. As if to translate the words into actions, Nao sits down resting on its bottom. Near to Nao, there was a replica of R2-D2 of “Star Wars” fame. It was a classic sight as this robot resembles the original bleeping humanoid that first emerged back in 1977.
The museum is not too big in size and is located under a Madrid games store named Juegetronica. This games store sells tickets for guided tours of the museum. According to the owner of this store, Pablo Medrano, who is also highly enthusiastic about robotic technology, there have been several occasions on which tickets for the guided tours have sold out. This is definitely encouraging for a museum which a little more than two weeks old. Medrano also pointed out that most of the exhibits on display in the museum are not sold in stores anymore. He expressed optimism on the fact that in the near future robots will be able to do household chores, particularly catering to old and disabled people.